BLACK REFUGEES DEMANDING FREEDOM IN ISRAEL
January 5. 2014
Rabin Square – Tel Aviv City Hall
African Black refugees marched in protest against unjust treatment by the Israeli government.
About 30,000 black refugees peacefully marched in small groups from southern Tel Aviv to Rabin Square (in front of the city hall), demanding to be “treated as human beings” and for the Israeli government to stop putting them inside facilities and “prisons,” which isolate them from the majority of the country’s population.They claim that the government discriminates them not only for not being Jews but also for being blacks.
Some of the signs read: “Being Black is Not a Crime”, “We Shall Overcome”, “No More Arrests, We Need Freedom”, “FREEDOM”, and one interestingly read – “To Freedom Land USA”.
Israel recently passed a law that put African refugees or asylum seekers, who cross the border illegally, in prison and detention camps for unlimited time, without due process. Few weeks after the law was passed, hundreds of refugees were arrested and put in detention facilities specifically built for them. The Israeli government do not call these facilities jails or prisons but instead calls them something like “holding facilities” or “open detention centers.” These centers were built in the Negev desert, away from the local population and far away from any public transportation. This despite the fact that Israel is a signatory in the UN treaty for the Protection of Refugees. By creating bureaucratic hurdles that operate slowly, the government finds a way to refuse recognition of their refugee or asylum seeker status, claiming instead that they are “economic refugees”; and without significant pressure from the UN and the international community Israel seems to be getting away with this. The situation is just getting worse, making life harder for them, who already number to about 50,000. In a way, these refugees have become our “modern-day slaves,” who like in many countries where they abound as well, are not permitted to work, ending up doing jobs that most Israelis wouldn’t want (such as street sweepers, dishwashers in restaurants and hotels cleaners, and construction workers), and ironically working for subcontractors for government offices and municipalities. This peaceful march/protest has been planned to coincide with three days of strike of the employed refugees from their current jobs. Tomorrow the refugees plan to march to various consulates, among them the US Embassy, to seek international help for their plight.
“We’re not criminals! We are Human! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”
We want our freedom (it reads in broken Hebrew)
~ by wherenwhen on January 5, 2014.
Posted in africans, black, immigrants, israel, news, news photos, photojournalism, racism, refugees
Tags: african refugees, aritrane refugees, arrests, black, black refugees, discrimination, freedom, injustice, israel, modern slavery, photojournalism, press photography, protest, race discrimination, refugees, social injustice, sudanese refugees